CPS North West Successes - 2011

Prosecutor And Caseworker Commended For Historical Sexual Offences Case

Alison Cartmel, Senior Crown Prosecutor, and Leigh Richardson, caseworker, from Manchester City branch, North West Area, were presented with a Divisional Commanders Commendation by Chief Superintendent Rob Potts at Greater Manchester Police for their work to prosecute and convict a man responsible for child cruelty and sexual abuse against family members over a number of years. In the citation for the commendations Alison and Leigh are commended for "their professionalism and dedication in what was an extremely serious, traumatic, sensitive and complex investigation."

In November 2009 historic sexual abuse allegations were made against the offender by family members.  The events described by the victims proved very traumatic for those involved. Both the investigation and the prosecution were extremely complex due to the fact that the offences occurred in the early 1980s and the witnesses were based around the UK. The defendant pleaded guilty to 2 counts of rape, indecent assault and child cruelty and was jailed for 9 years at Manchester Crown Court.

Top of page

Magnificent Response To Manchester And Salford Disturbances

The City of Manchester branch and the North West daytime charging team responded magnificently to the disturbances which took place in Manchester city centre and Salford on the night of 9th August 2011 to ensure that the cases stemming from the disturbances were prosecuted quickly and efficiently. The CPS and Manchester City Magistrates Court agreed that there would be an overnight court the following day to deal with cases speedily and to prevent a backlog. Four divisional crown prosecutors and the branch crown prosecutor volunteered to prosecute the three overnight courts which ran from 8.30pm to 6.30 am. They dealt with a total of 72 cases and some were even back at their desks the next day!

Meanwhile, prosecutors on the daytime charging team worked late into the evening, beyond midnight in some cases, to provide charging decisions both face to face at police stations and over the phone as police processed those who had been arrested on Tuesday night.  By Thursday morning - just over 24 hours after the rioting had stopped - 97 people had been charged.

Being able to charge and bring so many of these cases to justice without delay after the events on that Tuesday night was only possible through an enormous amount of hard work and dedication of staff, and cooperation with colleagues in Greater Manchester Police and at the courts.

In total 241 people were prosecuted for the disturbances in Manchester and Salford, with 87 per cent of the defendants being convicted.

Top of page

Over 120 Years' Imprisonment For Gang Involved In £14million Drugs Conspiracy

Eight men were sentenced to over 120 years in prison for their part in a conspiracy to import Class A Drugs (Cocaine) into the UK from Europe between January and May 2008 following a prosecution by our Complex Casework Unit team based in Preston.

An investigation by Cumbria Police, codenamed Operation Addington, led to the seizure of 105kg of Cocaine at Harwich Docks in Essex in May 2008 by police and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The drugs were packed it into furniture and boxes addressed to fictitious military personnel. The removal company who shipped the items had been duped into believing the loads were legitimate and were completely unaware of the drugs.

It was a sophisticated drugs conspiracy, meticulously planned over a number of months and designed to smuggle millions of pounds worth of Class A drugs to the North of England. The haul, which had an estimated street value of £14m, was destined ultimately for sale in towns and cities in the north.

With 12,900 pages of evidence and 348 witnesses, some of whom had to travel from Germany and the Netherlands to give evidence, this was a very complex prosecution involving liaison with several police forces, HMRC, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and a number of overseas prosecution authorities.

Seven defendants were convicted and sentenced in 2011 for their part in the conspiracy:
Peter Hannigan was jailed for 22 years
Mark Seel Neville for 26 years
Darren Morris and Simon Finlay were both jailed for 13 years
Phillip Grange and Mark McGovern were both jailed for 18 years
John Morris who had previously pleaded guilty was jailed for 6 years.

The final defendant, Peter Bradshaw, was arrested by Cheshire Police in May 2011 following an unrelated stop and check. He pleaded guilty in August 2011 and was sentenced in October 2011 at Manchester Crown Court, bringing the total sentence for all defendants to 124 and a half years in prison.

Top of page

Creating a DVD for schools to tackle Disability Hate Crime

Following a disability hate crime conference in 2010, Stacey Davis, Equality, Diversity and Community Engagement Manager and Alison Mutch, Branch Crown Prosecutor, met with disability groups to discuss the concerns raised at the conference. One of the key issues identified through working with disabled groups was the need to engage with young people about the impact of disability hate crime on the victims.

Alison and Stacey developed a DVD and resource pack aimed at key stage 3-4 (11-16 year old) students, which shows four scenarios based on the life experiences of several disabled people and discussions with disabled people themselves about being the victims of disability hate crime and the impact that it had and continues to have on their lives.

Stacey Davis said: "The children and young people of today are tomorrow's adults, so it important to engage with them sooner rather than later. They need to appreciate the impact that disability hate crime has on others and also the impact it could have on their own futures if they commit such offences."

The DVD has already received excellent feedback from Cumbria Police, Wyre Borough Council, Blackburn Cathedral and Derby City Council, amongst others.

Alison Mutch said: "I am delighted that this example of partnership working has been so well received. We could not have achieved this without all of the support and input of the disabled groups across the North West who worked with us throughout the project."

The resource is also available in signed and subtitled versions and can be accessed on the CPS website.

Top of page

44 days from arrest to sentence: swift justice for a dangerous rapist

Mark Jackson was sentenced on 2 December 2011 at Carlisle Crown Court to 12 years' imprisonment for the stranger rape of a 16 year old girl on her own driveway.

Isla Chilton provided advice and guidance pre and post-arrest, including in the evenings and at the weekend, so that officers could speak to a single prosecutor with knowledge of the case. She also advised on points of law and attended the police station to view CCTV during the investigation. Following three days of interviews with Jackson, Isla authorised charge at 11pm. For continuity, and to support the victim and her family, Isla appeared at court for the bail application the following morning.

She liaised closely with the police to ensure forensic and identification evidence and the victim's testimony was served in advance of the preliminary hearing and ensured the evidence was put before the judge at the earliest opportunity, leaving the defendant with little option but to plead guilty to the full offence."

Isla said: "This was a terrible, violent attack which had a devastating effect on the young victim. We were determined to do everything we could to bring the perpetrator to justice and make sure he could not attack again. I worked closely with the police to consider the evidence and build the case as quickly as possible. In the end the evidence was so overwhelming he was left with no option but to plead guilty."

Following sentencing, DCI Ashton from Cumbria Police said: "I would like to thank Isla, who worked closely with us on this case and who always answered her phone, no matter what time of day and night, to assist us. Without her help we may not have been able to charge Jackson so quickly."

Chris Long, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: "Isla really did go beyond the call of duty in this case which reflects the commitment that I see from her on a daily basis. The outcome is a real credit to her professionalism and enthusiasm."

Top of page

Trial for sex offender co-ordinated from 300 miles away

In October 2011 the trial and sentence for a Lancashire and Leicestershire case took place at Exeter Crown Court and the defendant was jailed for 10 years for historical sexual offences. The case involved three complainants, now living in Lancashire, Leicestershire and one outside the UK.

The case was transferred to Devon as the defendant, who was living there at the time, was in ill health and unable to travel. Four video links were used, including three from Preston Crown Court, to enable some of the witnesses to give their evidence remotely, saving travel and accommodation costs and minimising the inconvenience for them.

The victims were given care and support by the witness care unit, the investigating officers and Lancashire SAFE (Sexual Assault and Forensic Examination) Centre to help them through the difficult experience of reliving what happened to them twenty years earlier.

Stephanie Cameron, witness care officer at the CPS Preston office, said "In two years as a witness care officer, this has been the most challenging, time consuming and logistically complicated case I have worked on.  I am very pleased that the trial went ahead smoothly and that the victims feel a sense of relief that justice has finally been done."

Paul Butcher, CPS caseworker, said "This has been an interesting case which included the co-operation of two CPS areas, two police forces, two Crown Courts, two witness services and the SAFE Centre. This is the first time I have conducted a case at 300 miles distance from the court where it was heard but working with the Crown Advocate in Devon via email and telephone was as effective as it would have been face to face."

Top of page